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  • Salvaging a lot of frozen meat...

    Should the power go off, a big home-freezer full of meat will take several days to thaw unto 'use or lose'.

    Assume site is now isolated for an indefinite period, no provision for canning or smoking, the back-up generator has limited fuel, the electronics' inverter is too wimpy, ice is not available etc etc...

    IIRC, meat may be brine pickled.

    Given a hefty sack of food-grade salt, some lidded food-grade plastic drums etc, would this be a viable solution ??


  • #2
    Originally posted by Nik View Post
    Should the power go off, a big home-freezer full of meat will take several days to thaw unto 'use or lose'.

    Assume site is now isolated for an indefinite period, no provision for canning or smoking, the back-up generator has limited fuel, the electronics' inverter is too wimpy, ice is not available etc etc...

    IIRC, meat may be brine pickled.

    Given a hefty sack of food-grade salt, some lidded food-grade plastic drums etc, would this be a viable solution ??
    Yes........and there are other solutions, also.
    One day you eat the chicken.....next day the left-over chicken.....next five days you eat chicken feathers, head and feet.

    Comment


    • #3
      As a long-term veteran of hurricanes, I can offer a tip or two...

      Freeze water in enough bottles to fill all the airspace in the freezer. I like to have a mix of different sized bottles to fill the empty airspace better which will help keep the food frozen longer.

      After the power goes out, I quickly insulate the freezer with newspapers, cardboard boxes, and blankets in that order. The more insulation, the longer the food stays frozen.

      CAUTION: Do NOT insulate a frost-free freezer while it is still running, because they have coils inside the outer casing which dumps the heat through the walls of the freezer. Adding insulation to this type of freezer while it is running will stop the critical heat exchange and cause it to run "hot" and the contents of the freezer will thaw. (It may a good idea to unplug the freezer at this point to prevent this from happening if the power comes back on before you have a chance to remove the blankets.)

      NOTE: Some freezers that are not frost-free also operate the same way and deserve the same caution as the frost-free kind.

      The old-style freezers with external coils work differently and can be insulated while it is running IF you are careful not to block the airflow over the coils/fan.

      I have kept food frozen for over a week this way.


      If you leave the freezer plugged in, and want to know if food has thawed and refrozen in your absence, use this simple homemade "monitor." Freeze a few jars half-full of water. Then drop a penny on top of the ice in the jar, close the lid and place the jars in various places in your freezer such as near the top and middle layers of frozen food. If any thawing occurs, the ice in the jar will melt and the penny will descend which will give you an idea of how much thawing took place.
      Last edited by GrizzlyetteAdams; 09-04-2018, 03:45 PM.
      Genius is making a way out of no way.

      Comment


      • #4
        "Yes..."
        Thank you.
        The recipes I've now found suggest 6 lbs salt to 4 gallons water (Or metric equivalents).
        Would it be safe 'from cold', or must the brine be boiled ??


        "If you leave the freezer plugged in, and want to know if food has thawed and refrozen in your absence, use this simple homemade "monitor." Freeze a few jars half-full of water. Then drop a penny on top of the ice in the jar, close the lid and place the jars in various places in your freezer such as near the top and middle layers of frozen food. If any thawing occurs, the ice in the jar will melt and the penny will descend which will give you an idea of how much thawing took place."
        Yeah ! That's a great McGyver !!
        --
        Added: In case you are concerned, this arises from a hypothetical SHTF scenario that I may plot into a tale I'm drafting.
        Last edited by Nik; 09-04-2018, 11:32 PM. Reason: Brain glitch...

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with using frozen water bottles. During hurricane Irma we lost power for 6 days I used 2 litter soda bottles they fit well in my up right freezers on the shelf. I did not loose any food in three freezers but I had 24 2 littler bottles left over full of ice! If you have electrical power but you expect it to fail try canning as much meat as you can there are many ways to prepare the meat on-line. Try it you'll like it!!!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Ive not only got bottles of ice in fidge n freezer right not.but i swapped them out this morning.do need to fill more bottles thoe..
            be prepared,be worried,be careful..and watch your 6

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you for excellent advice.


              Though hypothetical, this is a full-on SHTF scenario: Travelling light, house-sitting while kin visit hospital in town, and neighbours do 'Black Friday' mega-shop.

              So, 'Home Alone' scenario. Just for one (1) day, Jack. What could possibly go wrong ??

              BANG-RUMBLE-CRASH.
              WTF ?

              Sh&&t...

              Jack is safe and well, in no immediate danger, so must 'shelter in place' until further notice.

              But, no more 'city-supplied' utilities, no network, no practicable egress route, no obvious prepping.

              There's no water, beyond what's in header tank and mineral-water bottles.
              Dry summer means only dregs in down-spouts' big, big water butts.
              Finding a water source will become urgent.

              The drains are wrecked, so will soon need a pit latrine digging.

              Kitchen is modern, 'All Electric', so cannot even boil water.

              Heating is gas-fired central, with electric pump.

              But there is an 'electric-out' contingency plan for this, a 'living-flame' gas fire behind magnetic blanking panel in 'Front Room'.

              Must restore this fire-place to 'trad', make a 'camp fire', use Gramma's 'ornamental' copper kettle from the wall hook...

              Wimpy 'electronics' inverter plus family's town-car's battery may keep the full fridge-freezer going for a while.

              Searching for stuff to McGyver, find big sack(s) of food-grade salt for water conditioner etc, a clean stack of lidded buckets.

              Thinks: could brine pickle much of the freezer's meat when it begins to thaw ??

              Thinks: must such brine be boiled ??


              PS: Family's two young cats hid under bed, are okay, and Jack's rescued the neighbours' kitten from their damaged house...

              Comment


              • #8
                Looking forward to reading more, Nik! (Where at?)
                Genius is making a way out of no way.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi !

                  Thank you for your kind interest !

                  My 'short' that spawned this is 'String' at... https://www.deviantart.com/the-nik-files/gallery/

                  ( There are sundry tales in several genres, and some fun piccies of our four tabby cats... )

                  I'm still 'feeling' my way towards a long tale. Several chapters drafted. But, I must tread a scary line between 'Robinson Crusoe' and 'Lost in Space'...

                  I think I've learned enough from writing 'P for Pleistocene' to do the tale justice. As yet, early days...

                  'PfP' teaser chapters at ...
                  https://survivalforum.survivalmagazi...or-pleistocene

                  One problem is that 'PfP' has a team of teens, plus a 'mentor' and a fair supply of long-life food. Also, a river runs through it...

                  'String' is solo, high and dry, unprepared. Up a drought-puddled creek without a paddle...

                  One potential plot-line is cold-brine pickling, but I do not know if such is viable.

                  Yes, there's ample chlorine-based bleach under the kitchen sink, a cap-full of that per big bucket of cold water should ensure sterility.

                  I just don't want to invoke such if factually absurd.
                  N

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                  • #10
                    I like the idea you present and the fact you are trying to 'keep it real'. Very compelling. Finish the book, I will read it more than once if continues as is.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've run into a very specific UK problem.

                      Here, *pure* Potassium Nitrate requires a safety licence to buy, sell, store or use. Akin to a 'Black Powder' licence.

                      Comes of the 'Irish Troubles', when big IEDs using Nitro fertiliser, sugar and diesel came into fashion. Given current concerns, smaller quantities are now tracked, too.

                      So, what claims to be 'curing saltpetre' or 'curing salt' is actually 98+ % food-grade salt NaCl with a small admixture of the essential NaNO3, usually 0.6 %.

                      Small enough that you cannot practicably recover the nitrate content by re-crystallising the mix. You must use it as-is.

                      A spice jar of such mix will make but a pint or two, handy for adding 'trad' flavour to a recipe, but a mere fraction of the brine required to salvage even one freezer's meat.

                      Which means that Jack may be inspired by finding a spice-rack jar of 'curing salt', but needs a sizeable sack of the stuff.

                      When I've got over my severe sulk, I'll send Jack to explore adjacent properties, see what turns up...
                      ;-)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've been promised a brine-pickling recipe by 'friends of friend' who hunt and preserve Georgia razor-backs...

                        I'm reminded that German hunters, who went after deer but often ran into wild boar developed a 'combination' gun, with one rifled barrel for range and one smooth-bore shotgun loaded with a 'bear stop' round. Also, the classic Medieval boar spear had a strong cross-piece behind the head to prevent an irate beastie running up shaft and getting personal with tusks...

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                        • #13
                          Nik, This is all very interesting. Love the kitties. Also one of the things I do when I am sure we might loose power, though we are on whole house generator is to buy dry ice. We keep bottles of frozen water in freezer as well but I freezer manual also says to put a sheet of dry ice on top of food in freezer and it will keep for a week if not opened to much..

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nik View Post
                            Thank you for excellent advice.


                            Though hypothetical, this is a full-on SHTF scenario: Travelling light, house-sitting while kin visit hospital in town, and neighbors do 'Black Friday' mega-shop.

                            So, 'Home Alone' scenario. Just for one (1) day, Jack. What could possibly go wrong ??

                            BANG-RUMBLE-CRASH.
                            WTF ?

                            Sh&&t...

                            But there is an 'electric-out' contingency plan for this, a 'living-flame' gas fire behind magnetic blanking panel in 'Front Room'.

                            Must restore this fire-place to 'trad', make a 'camp fire', use Gramma's 'ornamental' copper kettle from the wall hook...


                            Searching for stuff to McGyver, find big sack(s) of food-grade salt for water conditioner etc, a clean stack of lidded buckets.
                            In order to stay "real" there might be a problem with your 'living-flame' gas fire. Restoring this to a traditional fire place may prove problematic. Most gas fired fireplaces are simply 'vented' to the outside much like a hot water heater. This vent would not be capable of handling the heat produced by a 'camp fire'. Before your restoration you must make sure the entire chimney is still intact, every brick or stone in place and all spaces between well sealed with mortar, else the house will burn down around your ears. Is the gas the fire place burns natural gas from the city or is it LPG gas supplied by a tank on the premises? The tank can either be freestanding above ground or buried and it would have a gauge indicating how full the tank is. Here in my part of the world sometimes an all electric kitchen does not mean there is not a LPG tank supplying the house. If it is LPG that might buy you some time. Keep in mind as well that smoke can be smelled at quite a distance, and unless you have properly cured fuel, can be seen. Of course if there are fires of homes or businesses in the area that could cover your smoke. The smell at least.

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                            • #15
                              Excellent cautions.
                              Thank you.

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